I feel married. I think for others they can look at me being alone with my children and it is obvious I am single. But as I go about my life I some how ignore this glaring reality. And I am being quite serious. I go places with my children or I see couples holding hands and I feel married. An intriguing woman might pass my way; pay no mind to her, I am married. Love is all about action, it is a verb, we love by doing and the feelings then come. I live with the resultant feelings of a wonderful marriage filled with many climbing ascents until majestic views and feelings were ours to enjoy. I still want to be up on those mountain peaks; after all the toil to get there that made the vista so sweet. So I go about my life, feeling like I am up their with Kathy when I’m actually circling around the base of a new mountain, walking in the shadows and shade and deep snow; looking for the sweetness I once knew, without acknowledging the new destination that has been set for me. This has been a lonely existence for me. I know the miserable are indeed miserable, but it is a different experience to overcome only to be put down again because you have a taste of something you did not have the first time, it is better but also more difficult. In this aspect, those that experience the most joy and love also experience the deepest pain because of the contrast available to them, they are not simply disconnected and numb to life as is the lot of the miserable. Jesus Christ the best and brightest experienced far greater pain than Satan the sludge and rot, but he also experience far greater joy. Thus we see it is obvious that there is no badge of honor in having been miserable, in having had a hard childhood, marriage and life, it is only in the overcoming and enduring well, that the badge of honor will come. Such a one is full of love, very different than the self absorbed statements of ‘no one has experienced what I have’ ‘no one has had the trials I have had’. It is true; soul refining is deeply personal and it burns, and yes only Jesus Christ understands our suffering. Those that are filled with love of others, those with characters of iron; and even those of us with billions of faults and flaws that strive and plod along trusting in a higher power, them I respect, and I know they are the ones that understand life, even if to the miserable they appear to have had a free pass, why yes they have, through the atonement of Jesus Christ, it is a far better and more rewarding existence, even though you will still need to graduate from the school of affliction, you will at least graduate with honors and more importantly with knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. I think daily study of the scriptures is a good start to overcoming trials. I have done well this week of reading the scriptures for 30 minutes a day, starting off with prayer and looking for any desire, or insight, or prompting that comes from God as his will for me, and then striving to act on such promptings. Lehi’s dream is a magnificent representation of life that highlights the criticality of daily scripture study. We are always plodding along, becoming new creatures for good or ill, going over new terrain we have never before seen in a chaotic incomprehensible environment. And thus we hold onto the iron rod; the word of God. We do not amass enough knowledge of the word to be able to let go of the iron rod, rather we read the scriptures daily; not necessarily to become scriptorians but to hear, understand, and desire to do the will of God for you that day. What if we are on a vertical assent, or wading through a river of filth and sin that is of the world, only then will our daily grasp keep us where we need to be going. The miserable let go and fill with bitterness as they wander aimlessly. Those that grasp to the word of God still wander and wonder through dark turbulent steep ascents, but they also have times of renewal at the tree of life; the word of God. They partake of this fruit of love from time to time; sometimes daily, sometimes less often; but they still partake and become renewed. Renewed because they feel Gods love and they know they are on course. To believe in God and not feel his love and not feel he approves with your course, is a difficult and miserable road. It does not matter that your path takes you straight through that river of filth, you will remain clean if you cling to prayer, scriptures, service. We can never be perfect of ourselves, we will never give 100% effort 100% of the time, we will falter. We only need to be striving to follow Christ and he will overlook far more easily all of the faults and flaws we see in ourselves and perhaps in others. It is natural to be tired of climbing, wanting to settle in the nice campsite you have discovered, and when even that is taken from you it can be natural to always want to be back there again. In addition to nourishing your soul with the word of God, and praying with more heartfelt sincerity and looking for small ways to serve someone in your sphere of influence I have for myself been focusing on having fun! Coming into this new year, very lonely and missing Kathy, I have realized I cannot work my way out of this. Such is my typical nature and course, move from A to B, accomplish, work; and then you will get through. I do not have the stamina for this. I am taking a gentle approach. I am trying to have more enjoyment of life. Worries creep up but I try to keep them at bay as I work on fortifying my emotional outlook. Trying to find a normal level of zest for life. This is a challenge for me but these 4 weeks of this new year have been good. I have started doing daddy son/daughter dates. My criteria is I do something that I enjoy, not that only my children enjoy. Again, enjoying life is my goal, not doing all the good things I know I should. And so this month I have taken 6 trips to Crystal Hotsprings. I love the water and so this suits me well. I take one child at a time; except for a birthday party for Chase that we had last Saturday in which I took all of my kids and five other children; whew! It has been really nice to go do something fun with each of my children and it has been a great way for me to get some exercise. The slide has a lot of steps up to it, and I take big deep steps and by the end of the two hour date I am exhausted. I have had enough of Crystal Hotsprings for now so next month we will be doing ice skating because I love it. I also love Snowboarding and went with my brother at the start of the month; it was my first time in 16 years so for my first run we road a cat/tractor up really high and I went down a mountain shoot. A nice way to break me in after 16 years. I also have started taking Ballroom dance lessons two weeks ago, because I love to dance! Like I said, I feel married and this is my first activity I have done that is not for married people; at least when you go without your spouse it is not. I wanted somewhere to go where I would be around single people but where they were focused on something more than just meeting you as a dating prospect. This place has been perfect. The women will scarcely dance with you if you are not a good dancer and so it is all about the dance and far less about meeting people, and this suits me well. I did not want to be at a place where women are trying to meet you in order to date you. Even this place was hard the first time, I could not help but feel like a fraud, a married man; and so I left quite early even though it is really just about dancing and not a big deal. Currently I am a horrible dancer, so there is a love hate relationship with this whole thing going on, you are sort of an outcast until you can learn to dance, then the women wont be so annoyed to dance with you. I know once I get so I can actually lead the women through a dance that it will start becoming a lot more fun. This is my first step to feeling single. I am a good sport with these types of things. I did not want to go dancing, I did not feel ready; but I thought it would be good for me nonetheless, it is these things that will move me along the path I need to go and slowly teach me a new dance. This rambling disorganized post is indicative of life. We cling to the rod of iron every time we search the scriptures. We walk through thick darkness and chilling rivers. We taste the sweetness of the fruit of the tree of life. We hope for a long reprieve. We wander down steep winding rocky terrain hoping for better scenery. We find a way to that new mountain peek and we marvel at the glorious view of peace, happiness, and joy as we dance the steps of a new dance; all is in its place, everything precisely as it should be; God has been in every detail of our lives, and we praise him forever.